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Interactive, inclusive play in Margate, Kent

Client: Thanet District Council

Cost: £50,000

Date: January 2015

Genre: Inclusive, Community, Landscape

Consultation leads to interactive, inclusive play area

Children have been enjoying exhilarating, inclusive play opportunities at a park in Margate, Kent, which was developed following an extensive consultation with the public.

We were challenged with replacing the playground at Northdown Park with equipment to cater for both toddlers and older children up to 12 years of age. Thanet District Council required the new playground to offer inclusive play and to feature a variety of items including a rocker, slide, swing and rotor, along with play equipment to encourage agility.

“We were looking for a play area that was robust but also offered very high play value,” explains Morgan Harris, Open Spaces & Play Areas Officer for Thanet District Council. “A lot of children who have disabilities use the park, so inclusive play was also very important to us.

“Thanet District Council held a consultation day for members of the public, attended by more than 200 people. There was stiff competition from other companies but Sutcliffe Play’s design offered the best layout and most exciting equipment.”

Sutcliffe Play’s design features equipment suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities, including a single point swing, a 20m cableway and a trampoline. There is a wide range of inclusive equipment such as an inclusive ladybird springie, an inclusive butterfly roundabout and an inclusive oyster roundabout – a dynamic piece of equipment which has a flat platform to aid access in and out of the dish.

There is also plenty of equipment designed to encourage high-energy, invigorating play, including a Mission Target unit. Designed for older juniors, Mission offers testing physical play opportunities focusing on climbing, traversing, and descending in unique ways. Compact in design, Mission Target incorporates  exhilarating, curved banister rails, a spin pole and a challenging V-net climber.

“We’ve had lots and lots of positive feedback about the new play area: we’re always hearing that children love playing there, and they especially love the trampoline!” says Morgan. “And the interaction we’ve seen between children as they use the equipment is really excellent. We’re over the moon.”

Playground Equipment:

Inclusive Butterfly Roundabout: The Butterfly Roundabout is a flat revolving 1m diameter rubber disc, set close to the ground. Two support tubes at either side can be used to hold onto or as small back rests for children needing support.

Inclusive Toddlerzone ‘Hide and Slide’: Toddlerzone has been designed to provide a wide range of play opportunities, specifically with Toddlers in mind. The ‘Hide & Slide’ unit offers three levels of access to a 1.2m high slide, up a ramp, a ladder or a ring climb. There is hidden social seating under the main deck, where little ones can sit, chat and hide.

Springie Seesaw: Imaginative, exhilarating and fun to ride, the Springie Seesaw has easy grip hand and foot holds with anti-slip ends.

Inclusive Springie Ladybird: Specifically designed for more inclusive play, the Ladybird Springie, offers a seating arrangement that allows the child to get on and off without assistance and gives good support whilst rocking.

1.8m Swing with 2 Pod Seats: The Pod Seat hugs a child (like peas in a pod) and uses their body weight to pull it around them. It is very easy to get in and out of.

Toddlerzone Playhouse:In our experience children love to play in their own little house. The Toddlerzone Playhouse also has play panels to explore: music pipes and a puzzle panel.

Stepping Pods x 5: Stepping Pods have a rubber moulded top and can be installed at varying heights in numbers allowing children to hop from one to another. They’re great for developing balance and the skill of judging distances.

Mission Stepping Poles: These fun, curly, stepping posts can be arranged in a clusters of varying heights, and used as standalone items or placed close to a larger Mission structure as linking or ascending elements.

Mission Target: Like its name, Target has a centre to aim for. It consists of a maze of random platforms at different heights and incorporates exhilarating curved banister rails, a spin pole and a challenging V-net climber. Make it to the centre and there are spaces to stand or sit and rest a while.

Quad Flyer: The Quad Flyer is a fast moving, dynamic product aimed at teenagers. This product has four user stations encouraging social interaction. Children can work together to produce a range of diverse movements which strengthen the upper body.

Inclusive Swing (with inclusive and bumper seats): The inclusive boat seat can be used in a dynamic way by two or more children, as an old-fashioned boat swing. It is supplied with adjustable chains so that the seat can also be laid flat.

SMB Trampoline: Fantastic fun, these trampolines are perfect for physical play and developing coordination. With their own inbuilt rubber edging, they can be installed anywhere, even in concrete.

Inclusive Oyster: The Oyster can be a fast dynamic activity for older children or used as a social meeting point. With its rocking bearing it can provide a supportive environment for younger and less able children where a more gentle motion can be introduced. The flat platform is also advantageous to aiding access in and out of the dish, ideal for use in an inclusive playground.

20m Cableway with Ramp: Cable rides are dynamic, fun play items great for open access play spaces. Our design is available in four lengths, with a starting ramp for level sites. An integral brake prevents the seat moving on the cable when not in use.

Single Point Swing: This is an exhilarating, free form swing, on which up to five children can sit or stand. It can be used as a very dynamic piece of equipment or to give a more gentle motion for inclusive play for those less able.

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